Beneath the busy Gare de l’Est in Paris lies a remarkable survivor of World War II. Started by the French as a protected shelter, the subterranean structure was taken over on occupation by the Germans who converted it to an underground control centre for the lines heading eastwards from the city.
When visited in 2004, the site was in a remarkable state of preservation. The gas-tight doors were in working order, and the bulk of the original equipment and signage was in place, including pedal-driven emergancy ventilation. A telephone switchboard, original furniture and even railway handbooks and movement charts from the 1940s were still in evidence.